I have not been paid by any entity in any way (financially, benefits) to write the following post. This is from a trip that occurred in December 2019. Any airline, lounge, and/or loyalty program policies may have changed since then. ADDITIONALLY: THIS OCCURRED PRIOR TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. PLEASE TAKE CAUTION WHEN TRAVELING, AND ALWAYS WEAR YOUR MASK.
HRL-IAH | United Club IAH Terminal C North | United Polaris Lounge IAH | IAH-NRT | United Club NRT | NRT-PEK | Air China Transit Lounge PEK Terminal C | PEK-PVG | Air China Premium Lounge PVG| PVG-SFO | SFO-IAH
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So after spending most of my time at the United Clubs in Terminal C North and Terminal E, I ended up getting a last minute christmas present in the form of a completely free upgrade into Business Class for my flight to Tokyo, giving me a golden ticket to enter the Polaris Lounge IAH!
Located right next to the United Club in Terminal E, the Polaris Lounge IAH actually takes up what used to be the 3rd floor of the United Club, which used to have the Shower Suites and were primarily for Continental’s BusinessFirst passengers. I travel through Houston a lot, and would always see the Polaris entrance as I made my connections, and was extremely excited to finally get the chance to see the lounge for myself!
After checking in with the Polaris Lounge staff, I entered what I believe to be a very chic elevator, and made my way up to the Polaris Lounge itself. When getting off, you can either walk left towards the shower suites, or walk right towards the dining area; I ended up walking to the right, towards the dining area.
As you walk towards the buffet spread in the lounge, you’ll walk past the bar area, where a bartender will whip up your favorite drinks, or one of the signature drinks available at the lounge. It was too early for me to be drinking without breakfast, but I hope to have another chance to try it at a more appropriate time.
SInce it was early morning, the food spread at the buffet was all about breakfast, which was nice. They had your traditional breakfast foods, such as oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and pancakes, but they also had traditional Texas breakfast items, like salsa, chorizo, and maize tortillas. Not to be left behind in the health craze, they also offered sweet potato and quinoa hash browns.
The cold spread was very nice as well, including a cold cuts board, various fruits, a ruby red grapefruit yogurt parfait, mango chia overnight oats, and a variety of breakfast pastries.
Of course, the highlight dining option at any Polaris Lounge is the Dining Room, a dedicated a la carte table service with an extensive menu (for an airport lounge at least) that reflects the location of the lounge, where you can have a multi-course meal.
At the time there was plenty of seating, however I can imagine there being a lack of space when several of the South American and European flights take off around the same time.
Here is what the menu looked like in Houston:
I ended up having the omelet with all the fixings minus swiss, and it was very nice. I was interested in other items, but with the limited time I had in the lounge, I opted to wait until my flight to have a full meal.
Of course, having the a full array of illy coffee at my disposal meant I had to have some; I opted for a cappuccino 🙂
On a quick note, I loved the cover of the menu!
After finishing breakfast, I walked around to get a feel for the lounge. Started off by going to wash my hands in one of the individual restrooms that are allocated for guests.
As you can see, there is plenty of space in these individual “restroom suites”, and were constantly being cleaned and stocked by staff.
There are the two viewing options: If you walk out of the elevator to the left, you’ll get a view of the hustle and bustle of the terminal; if you turn to the right, you’ll get a way better view of the busy apron.
As is customary in every United Polaris Lounge, you’ll find the Signature Polaris Lounge Seat, which serves as a private, luxurious rest and work station, complete with USB and AC outlets, a lamp, an unobtrusive table, and a large leather seat you can sit back and relax or work in.
There’s plenty of seating in the lounge, with several seating areas spread across to ensure you don’t feel overcrowded.
At the end of the corridor, you’ll find the Shower Suites and Quiet Room; unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to preview the areas, so I’ll have to review them next time!
The lounge also had this small refreshment station, where you could get fruit-infused waters, water bottles, and soft drinks.
Also, did I mention the VIEWS! One of the reasons I love the United Club in Terminal E and C North – the views! Gotta add the United Polaris Lounge IAH to that list.
The United Polaris Lounge IAH is a welcome, if not late, addition to the United Airlines Polaris experience. Although far smaller than the Polaris Lounge in San Francisco, it covers all the bases in terms of what United pledges to offer within the Polaris Experience.
The buffet spread was adequate and goes far beyond any typical United Club, however I will say that the presentation was lackluster and even a little unappealing. The buffet room could have been better lit, and perhaps something should have been changed in the presentation of the food itself, but the offerings were more than enough for a meal prior to traveling.
The Dining Room was the star of the show for me, with the friendly service of the staff and excellent omelet, with the awesome hostess adding salsa to my omelet after asking if they had anything spicy for my meal. What I hope to review is the lunch and dinner service, just to see how their tacos compare to the ones in my home region of the Rio Grande Valley, Texas! It may be an unfair competition, but I’d hope the lounge will put up some kind of challenge.
The restrooms were just the right size to make you feel comfortable and provide nice amenities from SundayRiley, all while being designed in a very chic style. I very much appreciated the constant monitoring of the restrooms in the lounge, reminding you that anytime you’d go, it would be fully stocked and clean.
The seating in the lounge is not as plentiful as in other lounges, but it is still very comfortable. My recommendation is to try to snag some seats on the ramp side of the lounge, so you can get good views of aircraft during your visit. If not, the central area might be a good area to set up for your visit, with the terminal side seating being my least favorite, as seeing people at the bottom might feel unsettling and uncomfortable.
Ultimately, it is a fresh, clean, vibrant, and chic lounge that reminds you of the overall United Polaris experience, especially when you’re flying in the older “BusinessFirst” Polaris Cabin. But this is United’s flagship lounge product, and it must be treated as such. So far it meets my expectations, and although I didn’t get the opportunity to try out all the amenities, it compares well against other comparable lounges.
What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below! Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it, follow us on our social media accounts located in the sidebar, and please share share share!
As always, remember to keep living life one trip at a time!